Easily accessible from the East Coast from Cape Hatteras, N.C., Bermuda is a dot of eight interconnected islands in the Atlantic Ocean. The British Colony of Bermuda offers a taste of the Caribbean, but is closer to home for those in New England. An impressive 550,000 visitors come to Bermuda per year, and 75 percent of these are from the United States. The destination is much-loved, as about half the visitors return to the islands. Blue skies, pink sands and pastel cottages offer a beach atmosphere that often appeals to everyone in the family. Cars are not driven over 20 miles per hour, keeping the islands relaxed. Bermuda also has an air of classic conventionality similar to a country club. This is enforced by laws, like no shorts over two inches above the knee and no golden arches above burger joints. The island has many golfing, biking, horseback riding and, of course, tanning opportunities.

Bermuda has always been a family-friendly destination. Many attractions and activities are on the islands that appeal to children. The Bermuda Aquarium, Natural History Museum & Zoo is one of the newest additions in Hamilton. The museum houses a 140,000-gallon tank with a variety of marine fish. Crystal Caves showcase a large quantity of limestone and stalagmites 120 feet below sea level. Beaches are always a sure bet when it come to families, and these are safe and clean.

The ports of Bermuda are Ireland North, Ireland South, Boaz, Somerset, Watford, St. David's and St. George's. As passengers step foot on St. George, they are met with a 1610 replica of Deliverance -- a cedar ship built by 150 shipwrecked survivors on their way to Jamestown. After touring this, your kids may gain a renewed appreciation for the cruise ship they came on. King's Square is a town across the bridge that has kept its Old World charm. The buildings still resemble those that were there a few hundred years ago. Families with children over age 7 can also bike the Bermuda Railway Trail or take a glass-bottom kayak safari tour.

Hamilton hosts the most popular port on Front Street. The island is packed with fun day or nighttime options for entertainment. Families can explore the town on foot or by surrey. On Wednesday evenings at 6 p.m. the town erupts in celebration with music, dancing and tasty treats at food stands on Front Street. King's Wharf is located in Bermuda's West End. The port is in the Royal Naval Dockyard, once deemed "Gibraltar of the West." The Bermuda Maritime Museum displays treasures recovered from area shipwrecks. A historic lighthouse is a mere 200-step stroll and a pleasant tea room awaits at the end of the journey. Families can also discover the mysteries of the Bermuda triangle by snorkeling or scuba diving in it!

Cruises have not always traveled to Bermuda, due to conflict of interest and overcrowding issues. Bermuda previously required ships to stay at least three nights, an eternity in the cruise world. Several times, cruise lines have added and removed Bermuda from their itinerary list. Recently, however, Royal Caribbean, Carnival and Norwegian Cruise Line do offer cruises to Bermuda. Voyages typically depart from the Eastern Seaboard. Ports are in Baltimore, Boston, Charleston, Ft. Lauderdale, New York and Philadelphia. Cruises typically are six to eight days long with two to four overnights in Bermuda. Other itineraries are longer with additional ports in the Eastern Caribbean or Europe. Shorter cruises may be easier for families working around school scheduling without sacrificing quality or opportunities for fun.

As a semi-tropical island, Bermuda offers a mild climate with sunny days and clear skies. There is no rainy season, and not a lot of rain on the island, in general. When it does rain, the showers may be heavy, but they also end quickly. As Bermuda is much further north than Caribbean islands, the weather is much cooler (down to the low 60's) during winter months. Summertime is also mild with temperatures rarely rising above 85 degrees. The best time to visit Bermuda is from April to late October. The islands are in the hurricane path; however fewer hurricane hit Bermuda than the Caribbean and the U.S. mainland.

Want more information on Bermuda? Check out our Bermuda destination page. Planning a cruise for your family? Read our Family Cruises article. For more information on Bermuda cruises, visit our sister site Cruise Critic.

Written by Whitney Rife


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